With dimensions of 203 x 235 x 9mm and a weight of 289g, the Kindle is larger than the Sony PRS-505, and it weighs more than the touch-screen Sony PRS-600. It’s also worth mentioning that the leather cover that you see in the photos is an optional extra that will add another $20 to that price.
In use, the Kindle is pretty intuitive, with prominent Next Page buttons on both sides, along with buttons for the previous page, Home, Menu and Back. Navigation is performed via a tiny joystick, which works reasonably well, but can be temperamental at times. I can’t help thinking that a touch-screen interface would make things far easier, but I also know that I wouldn’t want that lovely screen covered in greasy finger marks.
Battery life is good – in fact I’ve only had to recharge the Kindle once in the past two weeks, although I haven’t used it every day. But that’s the beauty of e-ink, once the page is drawn, the screen is then passive and draining no power from the battery. Of course the built-in 3G is probably the major drain on the battery, so it’s good to see that you can turn the wireless functionality off when you don’t need it.
There’s no doubt that the Kindle should be the best eBook reader on the market, but in reality, it’s not. What I should be looking at here is a proper UK, or at the very least, a European version of Amazon’s eBook, rather than a US version with international wireless functionality. I can’t help but feel that I’m being asked to make too many compromises because Amazon doesn’t want to commit to supplying the Kindle outside the US.
Having waited so long for the Kindle to arrive in the UK I find myself somewhat underwhelmed by its arrival. The ability to buy a book and be reading it in seconds is, without a doubt, a fantastic feature, but it’s not enough. The need to order the Kindle from the US and pay for it in USD will be enough to put off some consumers, along with the need to continually buy books in USD from Amazon.com. Add to that the fact that the Kindle store is nowhere near as extensive as it should be, and the fact that you’re paying more for an electronic version of a book than you are for a hardback!
The idea of subscribing to periodicals is great, but the fact that anyone outside of the US won’t get any pictures in those publications, even if they are local to that reader, spoils what would otherwise be a superb feature. Then you’ve got the built-in web browser that also won’t work outside of the US, all of which goes to prove that this International edition of the Kindle is more about cashing in on foreign markets, rather than serving them.
But it’s the proprietary eBook format that really spoils the party for the Kindle. Because this device will only read eBooks purchased from Amazon, you’re missing out on a simply massive library of free literature that you could happily read on pretty much any other eBook reader. Perhaps if Amazon improves its available library of books and reduces the price, then this won’t be so much of an issue, but for now, it’s a deal breaker for me.
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